Why 'Food Allergy Friends'

Hi, I'm Stella, the food allergic chef.

Having grown up with an allergy to egg, I often wonder how I ended up in the catering profession. I've been asked that question too many times to count. The reason was that I loved cookery at school, so I decided to go to catering college. As the years went by, I developed more food allergies, and ended up leaving the commercial kitchen in 2017 

I decided it was time to do something about the lack of understanding surrounding food allergies, and start teaching food safety and food allergen management, so

Food Allergy Friends was born.

About Food Allergy Friends

The number of people who have Coeliac disease or food allergies or intolerances has increased in recent years. Statistics show that 1% of the population is diagnosed Coeliac, up to 8% of children suffer food allergy, many of them to more than one food, and up to 3% of adults suffer a food allergy. Add into the equation those with food intolerances, those choosing a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free diet and you are looking at an estimated 20% of the population requiring special meals. 

 

All these people deserve a social life and could be bringing your business considerable turnover if you can give them the confidence that you can provide safe food for them, they will bring their friends and family with them, they will tell their peers and use social networks to tell the world where they feel safe dining is available.

 

Many chefs and restauranteurs still believe that catering for people with Coeliac disease and food allergies is really difficult. Some are burying their heads in the sand and have a long way to go in understanding the needs of their customers, others are complacent about the food and service they provide thinking that they are providing safe food, but they show by their service that they have little understanding of cross-contamination risks. Some catering establishments are still unaware of the law that says they must provide information about their ingredients, or they refuse to provide it. Staff are not adequately trained, and communication is non existent between the customer, the staff taking the order and the chef. 

Food Allergy Friends is here for two reasons;

1) To help catering establishments through the minefield of providing food for people with special dietary needs and making the information available. This ranges through Coeliac Disease, Food Allergies, Food Intolerances, EGIDs, vegetarian and vegan food.  

2) To help those with special dietary needs to find food service providers where they can be confident that they are as safe as possible during their dining experiences.

 

Stella is a qualified chef with food allergies, intolerances, and Eosinophilic Oesophagitis. Having studied nutrition in an effort to eliminate her food intolerances she developed a keen interest in the provision of food for others with a similar problem. To that end Stella has a passion to help those in the catering industry to avoid the pitfalls in providing safe food for the food allergic or coeliac customer, build their businesses and provide safe dining experiences for everyone. 

Stella Holt
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Food Allergy Friends 

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Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK